Leader Job Insecurity and Leader Self-Serving Behavior

Yuanmei Elly Qu, Muhammad Usman, Moazzam Ali

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Leader self-serving behavior has been associated with a range of adverse outcomes in the workplace. However, much remains to be explored about why and when such leader behavior emerges especially amid the pandemic. This research develops and tests a theoretical framework delineating the emotional and cognitive states that give rise to leader self-serving behavior. Specifically, we draw on uncertainty management theory to theorize that job insecurity heightens leaders’ state anxiety and self-serving cognitions, subsequently motivating leader self-serving behavior. We further argue that the overall justice of the organization effectively mitigates the indirect relationship between leader job insecurity and leader self-serving behavior via leader state anxiety and self-serving cognitions. Results from a three-wave field study involving 481 unique leader-follower dyads provide support for our hypothesized model. We discuss the implications of our findings for leadership theory and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAcademy of Management Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - Jul 6 2022


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